Stop Talking

I sent a tweet to all of my followers to stop tweeting about something I do not like.

Read that sentence again. Doesn’t it sound absolutely ridiculous? Who would want to say that sentence? Who would want to own up to that sentence being an actual activity they performed?

I did it, and I’m terribly ashamed of it.

I don’t barge in to a room full of people and yell, “Stop talking about football!” or “Shut up about The Golden Globe Awards!” Instead I wait out the conversation, subtly change the subject, or I leave the room. Why would Twitter be any different than that? Why should I get to scold people for talking “too much” about something I have absolutely no interest in? These days, I just scroll past. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to scroll. Problems will literally slide away.

This weekend was full of people I follow complaining about people they follow. I do not want to scold these people, because it’s really about a collective improvement in attitude and understanding, than specific actions.

Every time I feel compelled to complain about someone else’s interests, I reflect on the last few things I have talked about. Maybe I talked about computers, maybe it was a local news story, maybe it was Star Trek, maybe it was a dumb joke — Whatever it was, there is someone out there that was not enjoying it. I find that thing, I hold on to it, and it keeps me from standing on a soap box and shouting at people. I selected to follow whole people, not a topic-based mailing list, or a bunch of clones.

However, it is still very important to disagree with people; to have a discussion about certain things. That is best left to directed conversation, not broadcasts. Instead of aimless shouting, I talk specifically with someone about a topic I am in disagreement with. Maybe with two or three people.

It can feel good to let out a big, passive-aggressive tweet about a thing you have no interest in, mocking the interest “all” these other people have in it, but it’s not something people like to receive. I feel ashamed of reacting so poorly to situations in the past, and I would not want people to feel the same way.

Having said all that: Stop talking about football.

2014-01-13 22:59:47

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